Coin News

Volume 36, Number 10, October 1999

The fight is on!

Volume 36, Number 10, October 1999

THERE was a time, not too long ago, that schoolboys (and girls for that matter) fell into two camps, those who collected stamps and those who collected coins. Certainly the stamp set were more numerous but those of us on the Coin side knew we held the intellectual and moral high ground, ours was a better, more rewarding hobby and we were content in that knowledge! Today things have changed and whilst there are still those whose principal hobby is collecting, the school children of today have other things to occupy their minds and the traditional hobbies of yesteryear are put aside in favour of the latest computer game or internet craze. This presents our hobby with a problem-now that the school collectors' clubs of old are no more, how can we encourage new collectors? Whose responsibility is it to nurture the numismatists of tomorrow? Certainly those who already have some interest in coin collecting can be encouraged by COIN NEWS or their local Numismatic Society but what of those who need a little push-those who really want to collect coins if only they knew it? What of those who have an interest in the history around them but maybe haven't considered coins as part of that history and just need a nudge in that direction? Or those who have found a collection of old coins in the attic and just need someone to show them how fascinating coins can be to start them on a passion for life? Where do they turn? To read COIN NEWS would not occur to them, likewise the local society, what they need is someone or something more proactive, something that will start the ball rolling so that they too can enjoy this fascinating hobby. But who? What? As was first announced in the August issue of COIN NEWS, the British Museum has gone some way to taking up this challenge with the first annual MONEY WEEK to take place at the BM at the end of this month. Whilst the events of the week itself will be of immense interest to all coin collectors and will be well worth a visit, it is hoped that the Public Identification and Valuation day on Wednesday, October 24 will, in particular, encourage would-be collectors and set them on the road to a lifetime's enjoyment. We wish the British Museum the very best of luck with this venture and will be supporting them throughout the week. However such marketing of the hobby should not only be left to the larger institutions like the Museum or the Royal Mint for, to a certain extent, we all share the responsibility. We should not be selfish with our hobby or over-protective of it and, rather than see it as an exclusive club, should we not view it as an open forum to impart our knowledge and enjoyment to others who have not been fortunate enough to discover what we know-that ours is just as rewarding a hobby today as it was in the days when we fought the stamp set for superiority?

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